SUTMC, Sree Uthradom Tirunal Marthanda Varma Chitralayam has been set up at Ranga Vilasam Palace to provide the public with an authentic perspective on the glorious past of Travancore.
Conceived by His Highness Sree Uthradom Tirunal Marthanda Varma Maharaja, the museum’s collection includes (besides valuable articles possessed by the Royalty) rare photographs taken by His Highness, himself a connoisseur of photography, and other ace photographers like William D’Cruz, N P Hariharan, S. Rajan and B Jayachandran (Malayala Manorama). These are set in traditional royal ambience.
Ranga Vilasam Palace
“Its alluring intricacies of pillars, walls and ceilings are instances that herald the Kerala style of architecture which is simple, flawless, and attractive.”
- Maharaja AyilyamTirunal
Ranga Vilasam Palace was the traditional, permanent art and picture gallery of the Travancore royal family. The Art Gallery here was inaugurated in 1935 during the reign of HH Sree ChithiraThirunal Maharaja and was the museum of State portraits, paintings, carvings, costumes, jewels, weapons and artefacts.The Museum was later shifted to Sri Chitra Art Gallery.
Each picture now on display here has been selected to inform and educate the visitors on the glory that was Travancore. Facts, context, character, timeline and location have been accorded top priority. From more than 6,000 documented images, a careful selection of 200 has been made on the criteria of appeal, authenticity and artistic merit. Blown up for effect, printed in quality archival ink and artist-enhanced wherever necessary, these pictures truly testify to the rich heritage of Travancore. The overall quality is enhanced using oil colours.The finished work have been framed using superior quality wood.
Meticulous care has gone into the preparation of all the pictures. Each visual is lit up with separate mood lighting and documented with all available information, including the context, time frame, personality and location. Sri B Jayachandran, the main force behind the project, has brought in all his rich expertise and commendable dedication to re-create the past. Naturally, these pictures beget an uncanny narrative of their own.
Utensils that are unique to Kerala, kathakali figurines carved in wood, old china, rare curios and royal portraits also adorn the Palace.
The ground floor of Ranga Vilasam Palace will be the venue for the art and painting exhibitions of both established and upcoming artists.
The original Art Gallery here was inaugurated in 1935. The project was made possible by the efforts of AmmaMaharani, and SreeChithiraThirunal both of whom were ably supported by Dr.J.H.Cousins, Art Advisor to the Government of Travancore during the reign of ChithiraThirunal.
Ranga Vilasam Palace has hosted innumerable musical and dance performances. Many contests presided over by the Maharaja were also held here.This palace had an “Aattapandal” or an open air stage for kathakali performance. The pandal was not only an imposing annex but also a hallowed space for creativity. HH UthramThirunal Marthanda Varma established the ValiyaKottaram Kathakaliyogam, which functioned from the hallowed premises of this Palace.